That long conversation had been pretty exhausting for Lith, adding new weight to his burden.
Not for the information he acquired, all in all he felt his opportunity were still pretty good with or without an academy.
The only adjustment to his plans was that after joining the Mage Association as a de facto outer circle member, a rogue magician, he would need to rack up merits as soon as he could, to get himself an apprenticeship with a good Forgemaster.
Normal merits would do him no good, he needed those he could earn as a magico, serving the Mage Association as best as he could.
The only real problem with his current situation would be rotting for yet four more years, like the proverbial frog in the well.
The reason why Lith felt so down, was that he had finally realized how much his friends had invested in him, not only in terms of money, but also time, passion and hopes.
It wasn\'t the failure bothering him, but the fact that with his brash and uncaring attitude, he had hurt their feeling, treating the whole thing as a joke.
Lith had to admit that in their shoes, he would feel like having casted pearls to a swine for years.
Sure, Count Lark wasn\'t as judgmental as him, but Lith could see how deeply he cared, and how wounded he was after the last rebuke.
It was the first time that Lith felt that by having won an argument he had actually lost the war.
But aside from second-guessing, there wasn\'t much he could do at that point.
So, he promised himself to reconsider everything with a fresh set of eyes if the opportunity arose, and decided to move to a more pressing problem.
Lith had yet to solve his problems with tier four magic, and asking Nana was out of the question.
It would reveal too much to her, exposing how deep his comprehension of magic was, despite being a self-taught.
The only card he had yet to play was to ask the help of his friend, the Ry king in the west of the Trawn woods.
Thanks to his cyan mana core, Lith had become less scared of it, and during the last few years they had developed an odd relationship.
Lith would use him as a confident, sometime asking it advice about fire and wind magic, the two elements the Ry could use.
In exchange Lith would help him with the problems in the east zone of the woods.
After Irtu\'s death, there wasn\'t a magical beast strong enough to take its place, and from time to time the power struggle among the various factions would affect the balance of the forest.
In those situations, the Scourge and the Protector would join hands to force the magical beasts to a truce.
At the moment, tier four fake magic was a mental bottleneck that neither he or Solus could overcome.
Despite being able to cast all the spells he had found in the Count\'s books, they kept making no sense to him.
It was something unacceptable, eating Lith from the inside.
He had always hated riddles, unless he was the one giving them.
Lith had almost arrived home, when he caught a familiar smell.
What the heck are you doing outside the woods If someone sees you, it could trigger a witch hunt.
The last thing I need right now is you having a bounty on your head and me having to explain why I\'m not interested.
I know. The Ry replied.
But desperate times call for desperate measures.
A monster has appeared in the woods, strong enough to pose a threat for my cubs as well for yours.
We need your help.
I have never seen the Ry scared before, whatever this is, it must be damn important. Lith thought.
After agreeing to help, the Ry asked him to hop on its back, before running at full speed towards the woods.
Between the use of air fusion and its physical prowess, Protector was able to easily reach the 300kph (186 mph), it would be a short trip.
When going so fast, the Ry would conjure a wedge-shaped wind blade in front of itself, so to protect their eyes and face from insects and dust, that at that speed would hit them with the strength of a bullet.
It would also create a slipstream effect, allowing it to go even faster.
Lith\'s horsemanship amounted to the result of one lesson, two lifetimes ago, so he needed all his focus and willpower to not fall down.
The Ry had a thick and soft fur, but not being able to follow its movements, he was forced to use both earth fusion and light fusion to prevent permanent damage to his nether regions.
What the f*ck it\'s this thing Is it really necessary to go so fast If it keeps like this, I don\'t know if there will be enough of me left to do anything!
Quit whining, we are almost there.
And yes, speed it\'s of the utmost importance when facing an Abomination.
Lith\'s mind went through all the bestiaries he had in Soluspedia and all his table top and videogames RPG memories before giving up.
What the heck is an Abomination Why is it so dangerous
You don\'t understand.
We don\'t call it Abomination for what it does, but for what it is!
They were headed north, in a region of the woods that he had never visited before.
It started slowly, like the tension in the air before a storm.
Only when they got deeper in the woods, Lith could understand what the Ry meant.
Soon the grass started to thin out, until there was none at all.
The earth laid bare, with no undergrowth of any kind, dried and crumbling as after a months lasting drought.
The trees around them had their bark completely blackened out.
They had no leaves nor branches left standing, resembling giant wooden stakes.
There was no sound at all, everything seemed out of a post-apocalyptic movie, after a nuclear fallout.
The natural landscape was completely destroyed as far the eye could see.
After a while Lith could clearly hear the sounds from a battle, so he focused his eyes, enhancing his eyesight.
They were closing in to some kind of moving shadow, locked in ranged combat with a Gylad, a stag magical beast with a shoulder height of over two metres (7 feet) and weighting at least nine hundred kilograms (2,000 pounds), its fur light brown with shades of blue.
Attacking the shadow from the flank, there was also a Shyf, a puma magical beast as big as a tiger, with a shoulder height one and a half metres (5 feet) and weighting over three hundred kilograms (660 pounds).
It had a honey-coloured fur with shades of green.
The Gylad is the king in the north, Lifebringer, while the Shyf is the king in the south, Reaper. Protector quickly introduced Lith to their allies.
That thing is the Abomination.
Stay away from it as much as you can, or it will suck you dry like everything else.
The Abomination was oddly shaped, it could stand up on its legs, resembling a man with very long and thin limbs, or would stand on all four, becoming large and stumpy like a pig a kid had drawn.
What the heck is that thing Lith unleashed five fireballs with a wave of the hand.
The Abomination was surrounded by a thin black fog, with a radius of fifteen meters (16.4 yards).
By traveling through the fog, the fireballs shrank in size, and when they hit the resultant explosions were halved compared to their usual effectiveness.
The Abomination emitted a low-pitched scream that resounded of desperation rather than pain.
The Ry howled, conjuring a pillar of wind that pinned down to the ground the shadow creature, allowing the other kings to rest and regroup.
That\'s your idea of back up A human If someone ever thought that a stag could not look ferocious, by looking at the Gylad he would be forced to think again.
Less yapping, more catching your breath. The Shyf panted heavily.
If he\'s good enough to take down Irtu and Gerda, he\'s fine by me.
Lith noticed that one of the Shyf four legs was actually made of earth, the real one was unnaturally atrophied and dried.
A prosthetic limb out of earth magic What an amazing control must it have, to move it like a real one.
I wouldn\'t even notice if the Shyf wasn\'t so close.
Having noticed Lith staring at it, the Shyf explained:
That\'s what happens when you are so arrogant to let the Wither close enough to touch you.
I would be dead if Lifebringer hadn\'t caught his attention long enough for me to escape.
Wither Isn\'t that an Abomination
The Gylad scoffed.
He wanted to reproach the Ry, but the pillar of wind was dissipating, so he preferred bringing Scourge up to speed rather than wasting time bickering.
An Abomination is when a creature of the forest fails to evolve.
Normally they die on the spot, more rarely they lose control of the world energy, becoming mad.
Abominations are incredibly strong, with exceptional powers that make them strong as monsters.
Being mindless beings, usually a king is more than enough to put them down.
In very rare occasions, we all gather up to kill a unique Abomination, like in this case.
It shouldn\'t be difficult understand why we call it Wither.
The Gylad pointed with its snout to the dead woods around them.
How the heck did he do all this damage Lith couldn\'t believe that three creatures of such power couldn\'t take down a single monster.
Simply by existing. The Ry explained.
Wherever it goes, everything dies.
Whenever we are about to kill it, its body becomes so formless that not wind, ice or earth can pin it down.
So, it escapes to a healthy zone of the woods, heal itself and we have to start everything from scratch.
We are fighting it from three days, we can\'t hold on much longer.
That\'s why I decided to ask for your help, Scourge.
Unlike us, all the elements obey your command.
Lith nodded, trying to assimilate all that information.
They are fighting from three days Holy sh*t, that\'s some stamina.
Yes, skipper, I mean Lith.
All the kings have a cyan mana core, but the Protector is the one more likely to have a breakthrough in a few years.
I meant the Wither! Misty aura, shadow body, is it an undead Lith watched the creature writhe and moan under the dissolving pillar.
According to Earth\'s fantasy literature and the new world lore, undead were supposed to have red glowing eyes.
The Wither\'s orbits were pitch black, like the rest of its body.
It\'s not an undead.
Its lifeforce is nothing like I have ever seen before, and neither is its magic aura.
What the heck could a black mana core mean